Joell Ortiz, Jon Connor & Locksmith Are Bringing Bars Back To Hip-Hop (Video)

In a time where name-dropping and direct disses are getting all the attention in Hip-Hop, a group of independent MCs is bringing back some old fashioned, cypher-oriented raps with hard punches aimed at no one in particular. The song “Back To The Bars (Intro)” features East Coast spitters MCs Joell Ortiz, Nino Man, Vado, Mysonne, Fred The Godson, along with Northern California’s Locksmith and Flint, Michigan’s Jon Connor. Together, they all spit verses one after the other in a cypher-style track. The video also marks the announcement of DJ Kay Slay’s upcoming compilation album dropping in October, Hip Hop Frontline.

This will be Kay Slay’s second album since returning from a seven-year hiatus with 2017’s The Big Brother. As with most of his projects, he only enlists quality MCs with lyrical skill to feature on his tracks, as evidenced by this intro. Kay Slay appears at the start of the video with actor Joseph Sikora, whose highly anticipated season finale of the show Power airs tomorrow (September 9, 2018). Sikora gives Kay Slay a pep talk to reclaim his place on the front-lines of Hip-Hop, and the cypher is then set off.

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Nino Man captures Kay Slay’s attitude in just the first couple lines: “When a lil’ time go by, they forget what you’ve done for them / Always tried to comfort them, now you’re ready to come for them.” His verse is followed by some solid 16’s by Vado and Mysonne, who are then followed by Fred The Godson. Fred’s verse stands out with wordplay and punchlines in every bar, using gun-play and sports references.

Locksmith and Jon Connor go next, and they make things slightly more conscious with their verses. Lock’ attacks modern Hip-Hop’s ways of glorifying drug use and allowing rappers with ghostwriters to have the throne, while Jon Connor takes aim at America’s government, legal system and education in a rapid-fire verse. After Jon’s aggressive delivery, Joell Ortiz anchors the cypher with a smoothed out flow and a verse filled with punchlines. He closes out the track with the bars: “I love Hip-Hop but hate what it’s turning into / Nouns, verbs, repeat a couple words and you through / I take that personal too, so every person or two / That wants us versus them, I got verses for you, yaowa!”

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With the MCs he enlisted, DJ Kay Slay is able to capture the raw essence of Hip-Hop in one track. Between the wordplay, punchlines, violence, politics, consciousness, and competitive spirit, all kinds of bars were brought for the intro. Time will tell which other notable MCs will feature on the rest of Kay Slay’s upcoming album.